InnoPub, Smart lead way for digital tourism

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Monday, March 24, 2014


ATTRACTING technology savvy tourists to Baguio City is now possible through digital tourism.

Through the partnership of Cebu-based new media startup InnoPub Media and Smart, tourists visiting the Summer Capital may now use mobile phones and tablets as a virtual guide to discover facts and information about the city.

Sun.Star Cebu business editor and InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag presented the technology before City Hall employees Monday. He said the newly installed site markers numbering some 12 tourist destinations in the city containing QR or Quick Response codes and NFC or Near Field Communications may be accessed by tourists to download tourism and historical information via phone scanning or tapping.

Limpag said to download information via QR code scanning, tourists need to be connected to the internet and must have QR reader application which may be downloaded freely in iTunes or the Google Play markets. To download information via NFC tapping, tourists need to be connected to the internet and must have an NFC capable mobile device such as newer Android devices.

The number of destinations with QR code will increase in the next few months, he added.

Smart Corporate Communications manager Nicky Wilwayco stressed information available through the Digital Tourism initiatives are well-researched and reliable compared to personal accounts and opinion-based information that can be accessed nowadays in the internet.

Committee on Tourism, Parks and Playgrounds chairman Councilor Elmer Datuin said the local government welcomes this new development in tourism, which opens possibilities for the city to attract younger tourists and technology driven people.

Datuin said as a virtual guide book, Digital Tourism, gives tourists a wealth of information enriching their visit to the city with well-researched trivia and facts.

It improves the experience of tourists who will no longer have to ask people of information about the city as it is given them by accessing through internet capable phones and tablets, he said.

The digital tourism initiative has also been launched in Cebu and Iloilo cities also to boost their tourism potentials.

Tourists can also access a readily available Baguio City Guide to help tourists make the most of their visit which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and Windows Phone store with a mobile version that can be accessed in the internet athttp://baguio.myguide.ph.

The guide contains information about Baguio, where to go and things to do when in the Summer Capital. It also has a listing of where to eat and shop for pasalubong. The guide also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers like that of police and other emergency numbers.

The Baguio guide also has a listing of hotels, inns, tour operators and tour guides accredited by the Department of Tourism. Places featured in the Baguio Guide app also contain a check location link that when pressed uses the phone's GPS system to show tourists where a place is and how to get there.

“Baguio is the first digital tourism program we've launched in Luzon. we're happy to partner with the Baguio local government in promoting tourism through digital technologies especially with the increasing number of smartphones and data usage in the country," Smart public affairs head Ramon Isberto said in a press statement.

The digital tourism program was first piloted by Smart and InnoPub in Cebu in 2012 but is now being implemented nationally. The program was recently recognized with an Anvil Award of Merit.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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